19:07 GMT +312 November 2019
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    Gulf of Oman

    'Ocean is Suffocating': Scientists Warn of Expanding 'Dead Zone' Near the Gulf

    CC BY-SA 2.0 / Andries Oudshoorn / East coast of Oman
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    During an eight-month mission in the Gulf of Oman, two underwater robots, operated remotely via satellite, specifically explored oxygen levels in the area that connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz running to the Persian Gulf.

    The so-called "dead zone," features a dramatic decrease in oxygen in the Gulf of Oman, and has been confirmed by researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA), according to the science news website eurekalert.org.

    The zone, which is larger than Scotland in terms of area, was detected by two underwater robotic gliders sent by a team of scientists led by Dr. Bastien Queste from the UEA's School of Environmental Sciences, in collaboration with Oman's Sultan Qaboos University.

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    Sized as a small human diver each, the gliders reached depths of 1,000 meters and covered thousands of kilometers in the ocean during their eight-month mission in the Gulf of Oman's part of the Arabian Sea which in turn links the Strait of Hormuz to the Persian Gulf.

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    Dr. Queste recalled that dead zones in the ocean are known as "oxygen minimum zones" which can be tracked between 200 and 800 meters deep in some parts of the world.

    Describing the Arabian Sea as "the largest and thickest dead zone in the world", he said that "until now, no-one really knew how bad the situation was because piracy and conflicts in the area have made it too dangerous to collect data."

    "We barely have any data collected for almost half a century because of how difficult it is to send ships there. Our research shows that the situation is actually worse than feared — and that the area of dead zone is vast and growing. The ocean is suffocating," Dr. Queste concluded.


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    oxygen, ocean, collaboration, scientists, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea
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